Next gen­er­a­tion not keen on fam­ily busi­nesses, says sur­vey

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHENG YANGPENG zhengyang­peng@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A Pek­ing Univer­sity sur­vey re­vealed that as many as 80 per­cent of the next gen­er­a­tion are re­luc­tant to take the helm at fam­ily-owned busi­nesses.

Most (about 70 per­cent) of the next gen­er­a­tion at Chi­nese fam­ily-run busi­nesses are keen to strike out on their own and chart a path dif­fer­ent from their par­ents.

This poses a huge chal­lenge at a time when most of China’s fam­ily-run busi­nesses are likely to face suc­ces­sion prob­lem in the next five to 10 years.

The sur­vey, car­ried out by the Guanghua School of Man­age­ment at the Pek­ing Univer­sity, found that most of the next gen­er­a­tion have re­ceived busi­ness school ed­u­ca­tion in Western univer­si­ties and have very lit­tle in­ter­est in their par­ents’ tra­di­tional busi­nesses.

Only 20.5 per­cent said they are will­ing to take­uptheir par­ents’ roles, while 10.2 per­cent said they are will­ing to work as pro­fes­sion­als in other firms.

“Un­like sim­i­lar fam­i­lies in the West, the two gen­er­a­tions in China face a far greater gap in val­ues, be­liefs and as­pi­ra­tions, due to the tremen­dous so­cial trans­for­ma­tion the past three decades,” said Jin Li, as­so­ciate dean of the Guanghua School of Man­age­ment. “Many are deeply con­fused and ap­pre­hen­sive about the suc­ces­sion is­sue.”

The re­sults were re­leased on Fri­day at the launch­ing cer­e­mony of a new­pro­gram de­vel­oped by the Guanghua School of­Man­age­ment, Said Busi­ness School at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford and Har­vard Busi­ness School, for ex­ec­u­tives of fam­ily busi­nesses in China that are keen to ex­pand their global foot­print.

The next gen­er­a­tion has re­fused to take­uptheir par­ents’ busi­ness for var­i­ous rea­sons, Jin said.

Ex­posed to Western higher ed­u­ca­tion, they have sharply dif­fer­ent busi­ness ideas from their par­ents.

They also have a strong in­cen­tive to prove their own ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and fear even if they fill in, their tough-minded par­ents will still dic­tate the day-to-day af­fairs. On the other hand, par­ents fret that their chil­dren are not ex­pe­ri­enced and are of­ten naive, he said.

“This con­stant con­flict has hit many fam­i­lies. One first­gen­er­a­tion en­tre­pre­neur told me that he felt sad that he suc­ceeded among a thou­sand com­peti­tors, but when it came to pass­ing on his legacy, he had just one op­tion— his only son,” Jin said, re­fer­ring to the one-child pol­icy.

... the two gen­er­a­tions in China face far greater gap in val­ues, be­liefs and as­pi­ra­tions...”

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